Outlook for a Mac
May 13, 2016 7:50 AM   Subscribe

I've moved to an office which uses Macbooks and Gmail/Google calendar. I can't believe I'm saying this but I miss Outlook! My company won't pay for a licence, but I'd be willing to pay for it myself to bring some order back to my life. Is this possible? Can I buy something like this and sych it with my company Gmail? The reviews are pretty poor, would it be more hassle than it's worth? Anything else I should consider?

posted by Dwardles to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you tried connecting your Google account to Mail and Calendar on your Mac? They're really not that different from Outlook.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:54 AM on May 13, 2016

I use Outlook for Mac 2011 but not with gmail. I can't vouch for 2016 but the takaway is this: at first you will hate it because it is not even close to Outlook for PC. There are features missing, some features it supposedly has but they just don't work, etc. So there will be many initial frustrations. But it's still (mostly) the Outlook you have come to love, and after a couple months you'll forget about those whizbang features PC users enjoy.
posted by bluesky78987 at 8:32 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Do you miss OUTLOOK or do you miss a MAIL CLIENT? Because, like you, I hate being stuck with a web interface only - but £100+ for a shoddy standalone mail client is an awful lot to spend - especially when the entire Office suite (including Outlook!) can be had for £7.99/month... provided your work even lets you install it.

Outlook - speaking as someone who uses it daily - is pretty terrible as a mail client. I mean, really. It's awful. Outlook for the Mac is not Outlook for Windows, either. It's somewhat the same, but it isn't the same.

It has horrible, painful, terrible search features. It has awful address book interfaces (seriously, why does it take 37 clicks for me to be able to copy an email address??). It doesn't integrate well with Google products - on purpose.

Mac Mail is fine. It's not the most powerful email client, but it is fine. (Personally, I use Thunderbird for my non-work email - on my Mac - because it does things Mac Mail doesn't do.)

The system calendar on a Mac is also fine. (Better in so many ways than the bare-bones but serviceable integrated calendar in Thunderbird!)

Google contacts will also happily sync with your Mac system address book, which again makes your life easier (Gmail = no Outlook Exchange directory so you're entering all your contacts in by hand!)

Best of all, to use these things on a Mac, all you need to do is log into your Gmail account in the Mac "Internet Accounts" preference panel, turn on Mail, Contacts, and Calendars, and you're done. No extra work.

Try it, at least, before you drop any cash on Microsoft. If you're never used another mail client you may be surprised at how limited and awful Outlook really is... it's amazing that a client so awkwardly designed is as widely used as it is in the first place, to be honest.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:34 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have Gmail and Google Calendar syncing through Thunderbird on my MacBook. You could also use Postbox which is a fancy front-end to Thunderbird. When I started my current job, which used a generic POP/SMTP/IMAP mail server and a webmail client, I also missed Outlook and was able to get some of that functionality back with Thunderbird and the Lightning extension for calendaring. I just like having one desktop client with e-mail and calendar in the same place.

According to Microsoft, Outlook 2016 syncs to Gmail, but not to Gcal.

There is also Kiwi for Gmail (and Gcal) but I haven't used it.
posted by ralan at 8:35 AM on May 13, 2016

Reiterating the sentiments expressed above that Outlook for Mac sucks. A lot. I'm not sure you'd be happy with it even if you got it hooked up.
posted by slenderloris at 8:36 AM on May 13, 2016

On preview, what caution live frogs says is very true. Outlook, when paired with the full functionality of Exchange (shared calendars, shared folders, address book, etc.) is fairly powerful. Outlook standalone, especially on the Mac, is shit.
posted by ralan at 8:38 AM on May 13, 2016

Outlook for Mac indeed sucks. I don't have any concrete evidence, but I'm pretty sure it was crashing my work computer on a semi-regular basis, which is an impressive feat for a Mac app. Plus, you know, its near-total failure as a usable email client. I switched to Outlook 365 webmail and never looked back. And my Mac quit crashing.

Apple Mail works okay, but it handles Outlook calendar appointments a little funny (you can't just ignore them, it makes you respond).
posted by neckro23 at 9:09 AM on May 13, 2016

Gmail can be a little scary if you're used to the Exchange-style mail paradigm, which is folder-based. Gmail is all about search and tag. I'd say give it a fair shake on its own terms before giving up. There are some "transitioning from Outlook to Gmail" resources out there you can Google and which may help you ease in.

That said, if you're wed to folder and panes, Mac Mail is a close-enough approximation and plays nicely with Google Apps.
posted by mkultra at 11:17 AM on May 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

You can try it out by getting a subscription to Office 365 for ~$10 a month. That'll get you the latest Outlook 2016, as well as the other Office applications, and if it doesn't work you can cancel after a month. You might even get a 'first month free' deal.
posted by veedubya at 12:24 PM on May 13, 2016

You can totally use the standalone Outlook 2016 for Mac program with Gmail. As gregr says above, the server will need to have IMAP turned on. I just tried adding my Gmail account to Outlook 2016 and it totally worked.

However, that's just mail. Your calendar will not be integrated and Google App Sync for Microsoft Outlook does not work with Mac.

I use IFTTT to sync my Outlook calendar items to my Gmail calendar so perhaps one of these IFTTT recipes will do the reverse for you.

My advice, though? Spend all the time you would on trying to hang on to Outlook instead on learning to love Gmail. Learn the keyboard shortcuts, for example. Also, these Chrome extensions may help you add in features.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:39 PM on May 13, 2016

Depending on how your company gets the licenses for Office, you may be able to just use a seat, and download the Mac version.

I'm reasonably sure that Office 365 licensing for Business is platform-agnostic.
posted by tomierna at 9:21 PM on May 15, 2016

THANK YOU! Very helpful indeed.
posted by Dwardles at 12:32 AM on June 1, 2016

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